Governor Rick Scott Announces $55 million for Florida’s Springs in “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget”

Florida Governor Rick Scott today announced $55 million in funding for restoration and protection of Florida’s springs in the 2014-2015 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” This announcement was made during an award ceremony in Tallahassee celebrating 125 employees from around the state that were selected as the Department of Environmental Protection’s most stellar environmental stewards.

Governor Scott said, “Today, I’m pleased to announce that in order to continue our dedication to protect and restore springs throughout the Sunshine State, the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” includes $55 million specifically dedicated to springs protection efforts. This investment will enable state and local partners to protect the quality and quantity of water that flows from our springs. These springs are important not only to animal and plant life, but also add to Florida’s ever-expanding tourism industry.”

The $55 million recommendation dedicates $25 million in funding for water quantity and quality protection and restoration projects. These projects will have tangible benefits to reduce and eliminate nutrient impacts and ensure the proper flow to our springs.

Effective and efficient water management is essential to the public and to the environmental and economic health and welfare of the state. To that end, alternative water supply development in critical springs areas will receive $25 million in funding to help protect spring flow. Also, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be able to help agricultural operations increase water conservation in their irrigation practices and deploy more efficient fertilization practices through a $5 million allocation in the budget.

“If you care about Florida’s springs, Governor Scott’s funding announcement should have you very happy,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Governor Scott has already surpassed all previous administrations when it comes to funding to improve our springs, and this year’s budget does even more. The $55 million in proposed funding for springs protection and restoration will allow Florida to keep the momentum going on this administration’s unprecedented efforts to return one of our state’s most precious resources to health.”

With the support of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, twice as much funding has been dedicated exclusively to springs protection than in any other three-year period since 2001. Since 2011, $18.7 million has been specifically directed to springs protection.

Under Governor Scott’s oversight, Florida’s water management districts are also making progress in water quantity by establishing minimum flows and levels for Florida’s springs. These are designed to protect and restore spring flows and the natural systems they support. The districts have set minimum flows and levels for 29 springs to date and expect to establish them for 50 more springs over the next two years, which will more than double the cumulative efforts of the last decade.

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